Vergara plaintiffs file response, arguing to keep the trial going
LA School Report | February 26, 2014
Plaintiffs today in Vergara v. California, a case challenging state teacher laws, submitted their opposition to the defendants’ motion for judgment, which was filed with the California Superior Court last week.
Defendants are asking the court to throw out the case for a lack of evidence.
The plaintiffs’ response emphasizes the “compelling and overwhelming evidence” that Plaintiffs presented over four weeks of trial, which included testimony from superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, students and expert witnesses.
The evidence establishes “beyond dispute” that the challenged statutes involving tenure, dismissal and seniority impose a real and appreciable impact on students’ fundamental right to education, the plaintiffs said in a press release. The nine students who are the plaintiffs are trying to prove that the laws fail to guarantee California public school children equal access to quality education.
The plaintiffs argue in their response that the laws are subject to a strict scrutiny standard of review. Under that standard of review, it is the defendants — the state and its two biggest teacher unions — who must demonstrate that these laws are necessary to achieve a compelling state interest.
“Over the last four weeks of trial, we have presented a mountain of evidence that addresses the central question in this case: whether the laws governing the hiring, retention and dismissal of teachers cause harm to students,” said Marcellus McRae, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “Our evidence has conclusively shown that these laws do not further students’ best interests, unequivocally harm students, and, as a result, students are not getting the educational opportunities they need and deserve.”
This is the fifth time the defendants have attempted to have the case dismissed. All four of their previous attempts were unsuccessful.
The trial resumes on March 4, when Judge Rolf Treu is expected to decide whether he will throw out the case or let it continue with the defense calling witnesses.